The hardest yet most rewarding challenge ever!

Newcomers -- this has not been easy but if I can do it, anyone can! I am THE or!iginal couch potato

As an academic I have had my fair share of graduations but I can assure you that this degree course has been the most challenging ever. I still can't believe that I can run for 30 minutes non-stop. And I now enjoy it too, absolutely incredible.

When I was at school I would hide behind the biggest oak tree with the other bad girls while the good sporty girls (with the high pony tails -- I had scruffy plaits that wouldn't stay put) ran four times round the grounds. I hated PE and never ever got into it although I went to one of those schools that pushed you as much at sport as in academic subjects. It must have been also due to the showers, naked in front of all my peers who already had perfect bodies? No way. And so off I went through life with my backside firmly on the couch.

The only time I ventured into sports was after a bad car accident in 1983. I had a sort of coil inserted into my leg to replace my rotula (knee cap) which was reduced to a pulp and as I had a double meniscotomy towit I needed to exercise. So for about a year I did aerobics and a bit of tennis but I soon got fed up. I remember my experience of skiing in the Dolomites and always being scared that my knee would give in. I had three kids, and knee pain then because of the extra weight gain, but no real health problems. I was on the plump side but not exactly overweight . And then, about 4 years ago my knee problems came back with a vengeance. My legs started swelling up for no particular reason, I started to limp and x-rays showed that the titanium coil had become a series of splints positioned all over the lower half of my left leg! Surgery was out of the question as a I was deemed too young and active for a knee replacement which would probably shorten my left leg. Surgeon claimed there was a risk of worsening the situation. I was told to keep my weight down, exercise and use ice when needed. And yet still I did no exercise. (Told you I was a bad girl!)

I decided to do C25K in a moment of folly. Or rather in a moment of depression at how an attractive young woman (me) suddenly becomes invisible. I suddenly went from unwanted attention from men, to total transparency! Don't get me wrong, I'm happily married but suddenly found myself feeling old. Which I suppose I am. I'm 59, hardly a spring chicken and no way was I going to do that mutton dressed as lamb stuff. I always said I would age ungracefully but now I'm there I've changed my mind. Pork dressed like pork scratchings is not for me :-D So I came across this program.

This last summer has been hell (sorry for the "me, me, me" guys!) as my mum and dad, who I brought over to Italy 15 years ago are at varying stages of dementia and guess who looks after them? Hubby took youngest (Clarissa, 12) to our house by the sea in the south and Becky and Jessie were galavanting across Europe, so I thought that I would run for me, just to keep me sane.

You can read the rest through my blogs, the ups and the downs, but mostly ups!

I have lost weight, dropped a dress size and my body is a really nice shape now. I feel great! I run easily and well (see next blog about my treadmill adventure in Harrod's) and the sky is now the limit.

Thank you all, this is a brilliant, supportive community. No way could I have done this on my own. Thank you and good luck to all the newbies and in-betweeners! Good luck and thank you again, Delia xox

19 Replies

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  • Congratulations ! You deserve to feel proud of yourself - keep enjoying it :-)

  • Thank you sfb and goog luck to you too!

  • What a journey Delia! A lot of people wouldnt dare to run with slight knee problems let alone what you have gone through so good on ya for not letting that stop you but instead using it to transform you from duckling to swan! It's great the effect this running has on us and the transformations it can bring.

    Its fine to harp on about "me"; I'm sure a lot of us are doing this for "me" and because of certain situations in our life and so fully understand where you are coming from.

    Be proud not to be a pork scratching Delia - I am and so should you too!!

    Sue x

  • Thank you dear Sue! How odd, I feel I really know you all! I suppose we all need a bit of "me" time, you're right. No pork scrathings here ;.)

  • Me-time is a necessary part of life I think. We all have to take whatever life throws at us and sometimes that's not easy... we need a place to crawl into, lick our wounds and get ready to put on our 'face for the world' again. Whether it's health issues or elderly parents, or gallivanting teenagers (rampaging would be a more accurate description of mine, actually :-) ) or the death of someone important in our lives... guess we've all been there and we all know exactly what you mean.

    As for pork scratchings - I really think that people who surround themselves with others of all generations stay young the longest, and you've certainly done that, Delia! It's the tutters who avoid all contact with youngsters - and I don't know about you but I know a few folk like that - who deteriorate into 'in my day...' narrow-mindedness.

    So you can have the twinset and pearls if you want them, as long as you have the running pants and jazzy tops etc too :-D

    Keep on running and blogging and - please - get that playlist organized... :-)

  • Mitts, my friend! No twin sets and pearls for me, I'm afraid... but no mini-skirts and skin tight jeans either... although my legs are pretty slim now, I must say!

    My playlist is ready, going back to Italy tomorrow and Monday after work it's the Stones, Maroon Five, 1 Direction and Spencer Davis -- howzzat for a generational mix? In my brand new running shoes :-D

    Next challenge, 5K in 30 minutes ! Of course I'll keep on blogging, you won't shut me up that easily!

  • Just read this post Mitts - how very sensible and well put, thanks for writing! x

  • What a journey indeed. I'm impressed by several things. Firstly finding your 'me time'. As the others have said it is necessary for us all, but is often all-too-easily forgotten or at least squeezed out of the picture, especially when caring for others - young children or older adults. I'm also impressed by you managing to run with the metal-work in your knee. Hubby's knee is held together by 6 pins/screws following an accident two years ago and he just doesn't have enough movement in it to consider running (although he told me that he managed to run for a train last week!). I'd love for him to join me running, but know it's not going to happen, so content myself with the fact we can still enjoy hiking together.

    I know what you mean about us women of a certain age becoming invisible. Although it is about appearance it's not necessarily just about size, nor about how we dress (I admit I *do* wear a mini skirt, or more accurately a mini kilt!), but more about how we feel about our bodies. I know I feel better being toned and being fit and I love being able to participate in this activity with others of all ages.

  • It certainly is a confidence thing Swan, you are right and why shouldnt you wear your mini kilt!! Good on ya! Sue x

  • wish we lived closer -- I'm sure I could get your hubby to run! And yes, it's all in the mind whether it's kees with metal or mini-skirts ;-)

  • What an inspirational story Delia - have you thought of writing a book?

    Well done for pushing through all of that adversity, sounds like you have found something to take you to your happy place! It's amazing not just the physical, but the emotional and mental benefits of sport/running.

    I look forward to reading your post graduate adventures.

    All the best Mo x

  • Thank you Mo, how sweet of you to say so!

    I love writing! xox delia

    and good luck to you too!

  • Cara Delia, Thank you for all your amazing blogs. Your story is an inspiration to everyone on this site. Congratulations on graduation - you deserve it. Hope you are getting some respite from the aged p's and that when we are their age our children are as caring.

    dorothyx

  • Thank you dear Dorothy, I miss my parents so much, yet they are still alive. I'm sure our children will do likewise. Running is my respite -- and so is writing -- xox delia

  • Delia thank you for sharing your journey with us. I'm humbled by so much you have written, it's wonderful to read how running has given you so much in so many ways - my story is different but like so many here I can relate to that. You should be very proud not just of your running but looking after your parents as you are, I volunteer with those with dementia and know how awe inspiring their carers and families are.

  • I guess you know all about about our feelings of guilt too. I seriously believe that in, what, 50 years time, people will look back on the way we treat old people with dementia and compare it to the way we used to push kiddies up chimneys in Dickensian times. How could we possibly have dedicated so much research to keeping our hearts ticking yet ignore the brain?

    I am in admiration of volunteers. You are doing a great job. A reward in itself. Thank you. xox delia

  • It is a reward in itself Delia, you're so right. Have sent you a private message, hoping it got there as it's a slightly confusing system (to me anyway!) - look after yourself and keep on enjoying your running. x

  • Dear Delia, I haven't been around here nearly enough lately so I missed your graduation post at the time. I've just read it and it's beautiful. :) Full of all the trials and triumphs and personal story that makes this the amazing community and resource that it is. Congratulations on a very well-deserved green badge and I look forward to us taking that run together one day. :)

  • Thank you Legion! And yes we will certainly do that run together followed by a long chinwag xox delia

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